UNC vs. UNCW Preview

No. 1 North Carolina (0-0) vs. UNC Wilmington (0-0)
Chapel Hill, NC — Smith Center
Monday, Nov. 7 — 9 pm
ACC Network (Doug Sherman, Randolph Childress)


“I don’t see it as too much of a difference. I’ve only been a head coach for one year and so I really feel like that for a long time I will be in a position of listening and learning, and I love Being in that position. And I’m enjoying it. I feel the same way this year as I felt last year. We’re in a good spot.” — UNC head coach Hubert Davis

“We’ve had a really good preseason and we’re right where we need to be from a playing standpoint, from a maturity standpoint, from a conditioning standpoint. I think we’re a little bit ahead of the game than we were last year, and that’s exactly what I wanted.” — UNCW head coach Takayo Siddle

Pregame Notes

Unfinished Business: Following his historic first season as head coach, Hubert Davis and the Tar Heels have unfinished business entering the 2022-23 season. Last season, Davis nearly led his team to the NCAA title, but fell 72-69 to Kansas in the championship game in New Orleans. The Tar Heels’ redemption tour starts now, as they return four of their five starters that produced the magical tournament run. North Carolina enters Monday night’s opener as the AP preseason No. 1-ranked team.

Preseason Awards: Big man Armando Bacot has already racked up several preseason awards, including First-Team All America, ACC Preseason Player of the Year, and he’s on the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list, given to the top center in college basketball. Caleb Love has been recognized for All-ACC First Team and the Bob Cousy Award watch list, given to the top point guard in college basketball. RJ Davis’ preseason recognition includes All-ACC Second Team.

Depth on the Bench: The Tar Heels relied on a tight rotation last season, but with the arrival of Nance, the freshman class, and the development of several reserves, it will be an important early season storyline to see if and how Davis gets more guys involved this season, and which players will emerge first off the bench. The candidates include freshman guard Seth Trimble, sophomore guard D’Marco Dunn, and forwards Dontrez Styles (sophomore), Puff Johnson (junior), and Tyler Nickel (freshman). Trimble had 11 points and five assists in the team’s 101-40 exhibition win over Johnson C. Smith. Nickel and Dunn each had nine points that night. Johnson, who is dealing with knee soreness, missed the exhibition game and is expected to be a game-time decision for Monday night’s season opener.

UNC guard Caleb Love and UNCW guard Shykeim Phillips. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

UNCW Spotlight: Last season, the Seahawks won the College Basketball Invitational tournament to close out head coach Takayo Siddle’s second season with a 27-9 record. Siddle was awarded the CAA’s Coach of the Year after UNCW went 15-3 in the league and finished tied for first place. UNC rolled to an 88-47 exhibition victory on Wednesday night over Division II program Emory & Henry at Trask Coliseum. The high scorers for the Seahawks were Maleeck Harden-Hayes and Trazarien White, with 16 points apiece. Jamarii Thomas added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Influx of Transfers: UNCW added eight newcomers to its roster over offseason, including and a pair of North Carolina natives. Nick Farrar, a 6-7, 230-pound forward from Apex, arrived from College of Charleston (he began his college career at NC State). Eric Van Der Heijden, a 6-9, 215-pound forward from Raleigh, who was ranked as a top 1o prospect in the state coming out of high school, transferred in from Ole Miss. Harden-Hayes, a North Dakota state transfer, showed his potential while providing 16 points and four rebounds in the exhibition game. UNCW also brought in center Victor Enoh from Marist and guard Donovan Newby from UW-Milwaukee.

Last meeting: Carolina defeated the Seahawks 78-62 in Wilmington on Nov. 8, 2019. Cole Anthony, Garrison Brooks, and Justin Pierce all recorded double-doubles. That marked the sixth time since 1970 three Tar Heels had double-doubles in points and rebounds.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series 5-0, including 3-0 at the Smith Center.

Projected UNC Starters:
1 Leaky Black (Gr., 6-9, 205) — 4.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg
2 Caleb Love (Jr., 6-4, 200) — 15.9 ppg, 3.6 apg
4 RJ Davis (Jr., 6-0, 175) — 13.5 ppg, 4.3 apg
5 Armando Bacot (Sr., 6-11, 235) — 16.3 ppg, 13.1 rpg
32 Pete Nance (Gr., 6-11, 230) — 14.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg (Northwestern)

Projected UNCW Starters:
2 Shykeim Phillips (Jr., 6-2, 185) 11.3 ppg, 2.2 apg

3 Maleeck Harden-Hayes (Jr., 6-7, 190) 5.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg (North Dakota State)

13 Trazarien White (So., 6-6, 190) 6.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg

23 Amari Kelly (Sr., 6-9, 225) 2.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg

55 Donovan Newby (Jr., 6-1, 185) — 8.3 ppg, 2.3 apg

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